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Food and Wine – both should be good!

This blog is also a review of the 2010 Entwine Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.  If you haven’t heard of Entwine wines, they are a collaborative venture between The Food Network and Wente Vineyards of California.  It’s a good idea, produce some wines styled to pair well with food, and provide information on how to pair them and with what foods.  What better guide to food than The Food Network, which we love.  Wente is also a vineyard and winery we have tried many times, and we’ve had excellent wines from them.  It all makes sense.  You can visit the Entwine website here and read the full story behind what they’re trying to do.

I’ll admit matching food and wine is not our strength.  That is partly because we don’t know enough, and partly because we don’t care enough.  We tend to drink what we like, and will do so in the face of widely accepted notions of what pairs well with certain foods.  We’re kind of food and wine heretics.  Paramount in the consideration is that we like the wine, and that generally means we would like it on its own.  So the Entwine website will suggest steak and Cabernet (even we know that) and interestingly enough, mac and cheese with their Merlot.  I might not want Merlot with my mac and cheese, and maybe I’ll drink a cab with it.  What matters is that I like the wine AND the food, not just one or the other and not just together.  This is where Entwine loses me.

We bought a bottle of their 2010 Merlot and 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon on sale for 2 fer $16.  They’d normally retail in the $10-$13 range.  Now there are a whole host of good wines in the $10-$13 range, so they’d better be worried about producing a good wine.  I just don’t think they got there.  Maybe with the mac and cheese it’s a whole different story.  Maybe if I poured the Merlot ON the mac and cheese.  Alright, you get the picture.

Here’s what we thought of the wines.  Please note we do think the concept is a good one, and it certainly is a great marketing ploy.  The people at Food Network do know how to market things.


Wine:    2010 Entwine Merlot                           Winery Location:   Wente Vineyards California

CIMG1681Tasted By:     Neil & Cheri                                   Date:     May 2013

Tasting Notes:       This is rather pedestrian unfortunately, and hopefully it works really well with food as intended, because it doesn’t stand up on its own.  Dark ruby red in the glass it absolutely assaults your nose with bright fruit aromas.  This jumps right out of the bottle.  So far so good.  On the palate the first taste is good as the bright fruit continues.  It’s a little tart, with medium body.   The problem is that is it.  The mid palate kind of doesn’t exist and there is no length to this.  It leaves you (at least me) wanting.  There is no depth, no complexity and no finish.  This is not very good Merlot.  Maybe that emptiness leaves a hole for the food to fill and that’s why it works?  Probably not.

Price Point –    We paid $8 on sale, but expect $10-$13

Would We Buy It?    not the 2010 ever again.  We’ll probably buy the 2011 and 2009 when we can find them for comparison and report back on that.  For the $10 range I can think of a lot of other wines I would drink first, and that includes with food.


Wine:    2010 Entwine Cabernet Sauvignon        Winery Location:   Wente Vineyards California

CIMG1717Tasted By:        Neil & Cheri                                        Date:     May 2013

Tasting Notes:       This is better than the Merlot, but it still isn’t great.  Dark red/purple in the glass there is some good fruit on the nose.  It’s medium bodied tending toward the full side.  On the palate there is a definite herbal note at the front, and I did not find it pleasant.  It wears off quickly and some pretty classic Cabernet flavors come through.  This does have some length to it, and the flavor profile has a bit of depth as well.  This is actually much better than the Merlot, but the comparison bar is not very high either.  Still, not a bad wine in the $10 range.

Price Point –    Again, we paid $8 on sale but expect $10-$13

Would We Buy It?   no, same story as the Merlot.  For $10 I’m going to other wines I think are considerably better (see the value list – pretty much everything  in the $0-$10 range on the list is better than this).  But again, this is better than the Merlot, and it will pair nicely with the suggested steak.

A great concept, and one which I need help with (if only I cared more!).  They really should make sure they are putting out a wine that stands on its own though, just in case you open the Merlot before the mac and cheese is ready.

We’ll try and score a few other vintages and see where this is heading.

A votre sante!

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